Wednesday, February 25, 2015

And The Oscar Goes To...Hot Tub Time Machine 2

Recently I have been suffering from a crisis of conscience. In my desire to create, I have become less and less interested in “deconstructing” other people’s work. Meaning, I no longer feel like “talking shit” on McG (among others).  I just no longer enjoy criticizing. So much so, that I have put a temporary distance between myself and the hate platform known as Social Media.

Facebook, the racism “metal detector.” (ß Okay, apparently I don’t mind criticizing Mark Zuckerberg’s work).

I used to LOVE to watch events such as award shows and Tweet pretty much everything that comes to my mind (grammar be damned and spelling errors aplenty). It was like being in a writer’s room with the potential of 1000s of other writers. The thing is, that writer’s room is getting more and more crowded all the time. It seems everyone has decided to add Live Tweeting to their resume in the past couple of years.

After Tweeting the Grammy’s I felt rather empty (fill in “terrible state of music joke” and then make sure to tell the neighborhood kids to get off your lawn). I also realized I wasted almost 4 hours of my life watching something I knew I had predisposed myself to hating, which of course fueled my vitriolic Tweets.

Since the Grammy’s left me feeling so low, I decided to watch the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary broadcast while barely glancing at my phone. I found I enjoyed it because I wasn't hunting and pecking all of the flaws I saw during a 3 and a half hour live event (how could there NOT be a few?)

Then, a couple of days before the Oscars I started to think, “Should I even watch them this year?”

I wasn't nominated for anything (again). So what was the draw for me?

“Don’t you love movies?”

Of course I do. I loved movies SOOOO much, that I wasted tens of thousands of my parent dollars going to film school (I finally work in the field – THANKS Mom & Dad). But what do the Oscars have to do with movies? Wouldn't it make MORE sense to actually go SEE a movie during the Oscars?

So I watched the opening number to the Oscars. I thought it was very nice. Then I decided to turn off the TV and go see a movie.

What to see?

I had seen a lot of the nominated films already throughout the year. I wasn't looking for anything super deep, just something to sit and be entertained. Perhaps a comedy? I looked to see what was playing nearby.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2. Of course! Why not? I LOVED the first Hot Tub Time Machine. And I equally love Adam Scott. This is a home run, right?

editor’s note:  it wasn't. More like a broken bat single into right field during Spring Training without any runners on base…but hey, it’s in the ball park

Another editor’s note:  I realize the previous editor’s note is in complete conflict to the argument above, however it was written AFTER the rest of the piece…SPOILERS!
But alas, this story isn't about HTTM2. It’s about the experience of trying to GET there.

Over the past month, the East Coast is been bombarded at night with subfreezing temperatures. So much so, that the city of Boston has all but put out a hit on a weather predicting rodent who resides in Pennsylvania, and South Carolina has incarcerated one of Disney’s newest and “coolest”characters.

The temperatures during the day, rise high enough to melt the endless barrage of snow that has been piling up, and then freeze all over the roads at night. So my usual 10 minute drive to the movie theater took about 20 minutes, and included as much sliding as pleading with Isaac Newton to keep my car from staying in motion through red lights.

I finally got to the theater and parked.

I had NO idea what kind of crowds the theaters would draw during the Oscars. Would it be like the movies at Christmas in 2014? Everybodypiles into the car to swamp the theaters. Or would it be like the movies at Christmas in 1994? A secret kept by the few who knew how easy it was to get in and out with plenty of arm room.

I walked in to the AMC Theater and a heavier Man in a cardigan, who doesn't look like he passes up a lot of cookies, and a young Woman on a headset were behind the counter. The Woman was having a conversation with someone on the headset. The Man was looking at her as I approached them.

The Man, never taking his eyes off of the Woman said, “Can I help you?”

I waited a beat, wondering, “Is he talking to her or me?” The beat went on too long so I asked, “Excuse me?”

He finally turns his gaze towards me and repeated, this time in a less than sincere tone, “Can I help you?”

“Oh. Yes, I’d like 1 ticket to Hot Tub Time Machine 2, please.”

“Sold out.”


“Yes. In fact everything is sold out.”

“Oh, Wow!” I guess the Oscars has become the new Christmas.

I was very surprised. I thanked them and walked out the door.
Towards the parking lot.
Where my car was parked.
In the amazingly…
parking lot.

Carpooling perhaps?

Something seemed “off.” So I pulled out my phone. I went to Fandango. I typed in the movie and theater. This particular theater (AMC Painters 9 Unit 0598 as listed on my eventual ticket), is one of those new fandangled “Dine-in” theaters. Which means you can pick your actual seat when you purchase your ticket online. So I opened the seating chart and realized the parking lot wasn't the only thing that was empty.

When this Man said “sold out,” was he commenting on ME for NOT watching the Oscars?

I bought my ticket from Fandango and got this message:

So far, the automated computer response had been kinder to me than 2 actual people.

I turned around and went back in the theater. I was in full view of Man and Woman the entire time I stood outside. When I turned around, they must have realized what I had done.

“Oh, we just had a returned ticket.” Said Woman.

“That’s convenient, ‘cause I just bought one.” Said Me.

“They shouldn’t be selling any more tickets! They need to update the system.” Said Man. To Woman. While looking at Me.

Okay…it’s now occurred to me, he might have been a faulty robot who enjoys cardigans and cookies.
They ripped my ticket and I was on my way.

Those are some sexy nails, am I right ladies?
I walked into the theater half expecting it to be packed with patrons having to sit on the floor because of a computer error that continued to sell tickets to a sold out show. Instead, 1 minute before the previews were to begin, I asked the ONLY other person in the theater if he too was told the show was “Sold Out.” He said, “No, but the 7pm was.” Having this info means this guy either came to the 7 and was turned away, or attempted to buy tickets online for the 7pm and had to do the 9pm instead. From this I deducted he also bypassed the purchasing from Man-o-bot and WomanLady.

I took a picture of the empty theater.

Having taken a photo in the theater, I'm sure I'm on an F.B.I. watch list for pirating movies now.
It should be noted that during the previews another couple came in and sat a few rows behind me. I’ll wager a guess that they too bought their tickets from Fandango before coming.

This would be an excellent time to tell you that according to Box Office Mojo, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 made $5,963,324 in its opening weekend. That is NOT a good number. And yet, it could have been higher, had the 100+ seat theater I was sitting in, not been “sold out.”

I don’t tend to complain. I worked in retail for 15 years, and I get that things happen. But the Man’s unprompted rudeness and the Woman’s lie pissed me off. A LOT! MY CRITICIZING BONE HAS BEEN HEALED!!!

Did the woman think I was so dumb that I wouldn't realize there was only one other person in the theater?

I complained. To the writer’s room.
AKA - I used Twitter to contact AMC Theaters:

I also added the photo I posted above. (Hence the F.B.I. watch list)

Then, the next day, they contacted me...or at least Brien did:

And now we wait…

Well that didn't take long. Hmmm…I can’t help but notice there seems to be no apology of any kind in this response. Perhaps they’ll send it with some free movie tickets or a fruit basket…

See I'm reasonable...

Okay. Not THAT reasonable, I guess...

“Bad info.” So they are simply saying, “Sorry you were lied too, asshole. However, that’s our company policy. It’s just most people don’t actually complain. And why the fuck aren’t you at home watching the Oscars? – Brien”

Also, no fruit basket.

I seem pissed...but I still singled out the service from the wait staff as being excellent. 

Will-fucking-do? Pretty casual Brien.

So, no apology.
No offer of free tickets implying, “We’ll do better next time.”
No fruit basket.
Not even a couple cookie crumbs off RobotDick’s over stretched cardigan.

Sunday night, I realized a few things:

1. I should have stayed in and watched the Oscars
2. I won't be going back to that movie theater  
3. I’m a critical mother fucker! (for example, see review of Hot Tub Time Machine 2 above)


Ron Ozer said...

On Christmas day when I bought tickets there, the front 4 rows were not available online. So I bought 4 in row 5. The first 4 rows stayed empty. Guess they just don't want to work too hard at that theater. You done good, the management of that theater needs a wake up call!

Kevin Regan said...

I assumed, once they upgraded to this "Dine-In," that it would get better. Apparently not.

The only time I didn't have a problem, was when I got there late and Adam Wahlberg already bought my ticket.